Monday, June 20, 2011

How People Try to Find Books

I always appreciate comments, because the comments get me to think more about a topic or remind me of certain information. When I wrote about Google Product Search, a reader questioned whether buyers would just go directly to sites that sell books rather than using Google. I made the following response.
I believe that most book buyers would do that, which is another reason why I care very little about how well my items rank in Google Product Search.

However, there are some buyers who have no clue where to find books. They really don't. My website,, gets a lot of Google traffic from people who type "where to buy Nancy Drew books" or similar phrases into the search form. This blog gets a lot of that traffic as well.

I have had people contact me asking where they can find certain books, like Sally Baxter. I tell them that eBay is a good place to look. I tell them about ABE. There are people who don't seem to know that eBay has books for sale. It boggles the mind how many people have absolutely no idea where to find books.
Thinking about this topic again made me decide to take a look at my Google Analytics data for my website, I brought up all of the queries used by people who visited my website over the last five months.

People who think like me just type in the series name and book title when trying to find a book to buy. Many of my visitors do exactly that, and I cannot read their intent. They could be trying to buy the book, but they could also want a summary of the book or general information. Other people form their queries as questions or use certain words such as "buy," and in those cases, the intent is very obvious.

I took screen captures of the data that included at least some queries for which the intent is obvious. There is no way that I can show you all the data, because more than 13,000 search terms were used in the last five months to reach my website. This will give you an idea.

If any of the screen captures are too hard to read, click on them to see a larger version.

Since the queries regarding where to buy books caused those people to visit my website, you can see the importance of my site having links to my Bonanza booth, Jennifer's Series Books. Here are my main sources of traffic to my Bonanza booth over the same five months.

Direct traffic is the highest and includes widget traffic, which means that people who reach Bonanza via my widgets on my website or either blog end up counting as direct traffic. Each widget is like a piece of Bonanza inserted into my website.

Between the unattributed direct traffic from widgets and the traffic that is attributed to my website, I have a large amount of traffic reaching my booth through my website. If I can also get my individual items to rank high in Google's results, I have an even greater chance of bringing more buyer traffic to my booth. The goal is to reach those buyers who have no idea where to buy old series books.

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